Dalliance vs. Diligence

Lately, I’ve found myself falling off mark in my writing goals.  Whether I’m was attempting to pursue daily word or page counts on specific projects, I struggled to catch up as the midnight hour approached and as it gave way to the next hour.

Day to day, and as weekends came and went, I felt like a hamster inside a locked cage, running circles within a spinning wire wheel.  I wasn’t making progress.

On weeknights, writing beyond 1 am jeopardized how alert I was to tackle my day-job the next morning.  Getting out of bed, getting ready for work, and being at work became a struggle.  I moaned and groaned.  During my day job, I daydreamed.  I needed twice as much coffee to get through the day.

By the weekend, I was miserable ~ way behind on my writing objective. Sitting down to write on a Saturday, knowing I had a good 15 hours of ‘alone time’, I felt the pressure of having to play catch up, to regain the words or pages I needed to keep the week on course.  The pressure weighed on me.  It bogged me down.  And, like most writers, when I’m stressed, I can’t write.  My creative juice doesn’t flow as it should.   The little voice of my muse becomes too faint to be heard.  I end up facing hours of writer’s block.  I develop half-ass scenes that inevitably need to be rewritten.  I waste time.

It was agonizing!  All my character and narrative voices were screaming at me.  They wanted to be heard.  They wanted to be written.

I used to produce and accomplish so much…

In the last three months, short stories, novel chapters, script scenes, Twitter and blog posts have all back up or fallen to the wayside.  Laundry, dishes, and clutter about my house have piled up.  Hubby’s complaining that the fridge is bare.  I would hear him opening and closing kitchen cabinets in search of edibles to cook.  We’d end up ordering out.

I longed for that endless hot shower or a half-hour soak in the tub, but settled for a quick sluicing and rapid dry-off instead.

So I sat down and assessed where all my time went.  In doing so, I discovered 3 things.

1.  My web browsing of research topics was taking hours not minutes.

2.  I tend to procrastinate when I’m facing difficult or challenging scenes; sometimes dawdling for hours, sometimes for days ~ even for weeks at a time.

3.  I often switched projects to those which scream loudest.

Yowzer!

So what remedy would get me back on track?

A simple one actually.

To Reduce Web Browsing:   I list my topics to be researched.  I utilize 45 minutes of my lunch hour at work to surf      the web efficiently and email myself the web-pages or links to the info I need.

To Reduce Procrastination During Difficult Scenes:  I devote 5 hours on Saturdays for Brainstorming.  So far it’s working!

To Keep From Switching Projects: I schedule my writing project a head of time, giving myself 2 to 3 projects to choose from for the week.  Once I choose the project to write that week, I stick to it.  Plug ahead with it. I’m finding each project is making headway.

To Keep Up with the House, Personal, & Social Obligations: I’ve revamped my writing schedule to start at 7:30 pm instead of 7 pm on weekdays.  The extra 1/2 hr gives me time to tackled laundry, dishes, blogging, tweeting, showering, soaking, shopping, emailing, or game playing on the web.

Focus is the key.

By focusing in on my previous problem ~ pinpointing the flaws in my expectations, I was able to develope a solution that works for me.  I can now focus on my writing.

I’m producing pages and feeling confident in what I’ve written.

How are you doing with your writing?

Are you completing projects?  Are you submitting stories and getting published?

If you are super!

If you’re not, maybe it’s time for you to step back and take an honest look at what you’re doing on a daily basis.

Assess what you’re doing.  Recognize and decide where you can make a change, then change it.  You might be surprised to find you actually have time to write that novel!